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October 3, 2005

Pawlenty speaks

Well, the moment I have been waiting for has come. Pawlenty has spoken favorably about the chances for a special session. Or has he? Let's take a look at his actual words, from the pages of Sid's illustrious column in the Strib today:

"I'll bring them in, but you know, the point is, they all want to shoot their traps off -- not all of them, but a couple of them on the other side of the aisle -- and it's put-up-or-shut-up time. If you're for the stadium, then say it, but limit the session to that -- the Gophers or Twins, or whichever other of those issues -- and that they've got the votes to back up their words. So, you quit talking the talk and start walking the walk.

Hmmm ... it sounds like he is talking about Dean Johnson. Deano has come out with some pretty harsh words towards T-Paw, and for good reason. However, Johnson has also come out strongly in favor of both the Twins and the Gophers stadiums, and he has repeatedly stated that the votes are there in the Senate.

Who else could he be talking about? Matt Entenza? Entenza is a strong supporter of the Gopher's stadium, but I'm not so sure about a Twins stadium. Here is hoping he puts aside his differences with the Twins stadium bill to get the Gophers stadium bill passed. However, he is also heavily criticizing the governor for his lack of leadership.

Dick Day? Day is the Republican minority leader in the Senate, but he has certainly been "shooting off his trap" recently. He has said that he and his Republican cronies don't want to come back to the capitol to do their jobs in a special session, and that he would rather sit at home with his thumb up his butt (OK, I made that last part up). In fact, according to Entenza it is the Republicans themselves that are holding up the special session.

Truthfully, we have a huge mess on our hands, and a special session hasn't even been called yet. Everyone is pointing fingers. T-Paw is showing a huge lack of leadership by reamining wishy-washy on the issue itself which has let his Republican underlings off the hook of taking a stance. And the DFL leadership is simply trying to make T-Paw look bad, plain and simple.

It is partisan politics at its finest. Let's see what else Pawlenty had to say:

"I'm ready, if they're ready, but right now all they want to do is yap a little bit. I'm ready to put my reputation on the line, take a risk and call it; they just have to agree on the issue and demonstrate they've got the support to pass it and reasonably control the situation so we don't have a runaway session, which would be a huge, ugly situation for the state."

That last part is the key: "reasonably control the situation." Truly the real reason a special session has not been called isn't because the votes aren't there. The real reason is that Hennepin County legislators would turn the special session into a zoo. Looking at the Voter's Guide we have 66 pro-stadium legislators in the house, 47 against, and 21 unknowns. I believe the votes are absolutely there.

However, in the House we also have a lot of vindictive HC legislators that are right now planning how they will muck up the proceedings. I'm sure Ann Lenczewski has already written 50 amendments that she will use to try to derail the plan. HC legislators are more concerned with keeping their jobs than doing what is right for Minnesota. Make no mistake, it is the potential circus atmosphere of never ending amendments and floor debates that Pawlenty is trying to avoid.

Here is the way I see it. Right now Sviggum is trying to convince anti-stadium legislators in the House to let their vote be their voice. He is trying to determine how many anti-stadium legislators are willing to allow the House to simply vote on the matter without making a huge fuss about it. Right now, I am not confident he is getting the answer he wants. If he can pull some strings, if he can demonstrate some leadership and convince the anti-stadium crowd to be satisfied with voting "No" rather than doing their best to grandstand ... well, how likely is that?

Finally, for some good news. You probably saw this, but Shooter reported on Sunday:

People who should know now believe Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will call a special legislative session in early November that will approve new stadiums for the Gophers and Twins.

Sigh... the soap opera continues. In conclusion, I believe Pawlenty wants to call a special session, but he doesn't want it to be a circus. If Johnson and Sviggum can assure him that they will tame the anti-stadium crowd, or that the anti-stadium crowd will put up a minimal amount of resistance, then we will finally get this monkey off our backs.

What do you think?

Posted by snackeru at October 3, 2005 12:51 PM | Stadiums


One: Thou shalt not use "illustrious" and "Sid" in the same line, let alone the same blog entry.

Two: Which is worse? The Vikings coaching staff, the Twins coaching staff, or the MN Gov't Heads?

Posted by: Brian Maas at October 3, 2005 1:29 PM

I'll believe it when they start digging for foundations. Until then, it's all talk and talk from MN politicians is cheaper than cheap.

Posted by: kevin in az at October 3, 2005 1:29 PM

Ha! I'm being sarcastic with the "illustrious" stuff, COD. You should know that. However, I will also say that I love Sid Hartman. He is cranky and full of himself, and he is such a homer it is sickening. But it will be a sad day when he is gone. I will truly miss him.

And yes, Kevin, it is definitely all talk. No one should be getting their hopes up. And also, thanks for the update from AZ a couple of comments ago! Nice to hear that a community can build stadiums and other arenas and not collapse into the Dark Ages.

And good question, COD. Since the Twins pulled of three division titles in a row and produced a winning record this year I'm going to let Gardy off the hook. Tice is a disaster, there is no questioning that. But our state leaders ... wow ... 12 years of futility followed by a shutdown of the government? Ding ding! We have a winner!

Posted by: Shane at October 3, 2005 1:38 PM

I take offense at your mocking of my close, personal friend Sid

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at October 3, 2005 3:22 PM

I'd love to hear sid try to pronounce illustrious

Posted by: kevin in az at October 3, 2005 3:29 PM

Good analysis Shane!! If it were voted in an-up- and-down vote, the gophers would pass handily, the Twins with a few votes to spare. The anti-stadium pols know that and will do everything in their power to muck up the vote. Ah for the days when the "Leadership" could dictate how the backbenchers would vote.

Posted by: freealonzo at October 3, 2005 9:05 PM

I don't know if you caught it on Sunday, but most of Sid's quotes from T-Paw were taken from a phone interview with the gov while he was running the marathon! Some staffer actually gave Pawlenty a phone around Minneahaha Parkway and Sid kept him on for a good 10 minutes.

Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at October 4, 2005 2:27 PM

Ha! No, I didn't know that! No wonder T-Paw was so forthcoming and unrehearsed. I wish I could have heard it...

Posted by: Shane at October 4, 2005 3:55 PM

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